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Cobourg has now released its schedule for the budget planning for next year plus the target increase.  If your MPAC property valuation increased by the average amount, then the Cobourg tax bill will increase by about 1.5% which is in line with inflation.  The target for the Town’s increase in the 2017 budget will be 2.5% with the extra 1% coming from “new assessments”.  John Henderson has brought the budget planning forward 2 months compared to previous years and the final 2017 budget is expected to be up for Council approval on January 30th, 2017.  The 2016 budget was approved 25 April.

John HendersonJohn HendersonAs well as earlier approval, Deputy Mayor John Henderson lists other improvements:

  • More Public input - In October, a budget submission public meeting was held for individuals and organizations to present their written suggestions directly to Council.  When the proposed (draft) budget is ready on January 16, it will be made available to the public for input which will then be considered at a Special Council Budget Session on January 24, 2017
  • Municipal grants were subject to an orderly process with written submissions and presentations on their merit.
  • Per above, a target has been set for budget increases.  In a Press Release, John Henderson says:
       Council has directed municipal staff not to exceed 2.5% for all service delivery components within all Town departments
  • More transparency – in addition to the above public input, most budget meetings are open to the public – see schedule below.
  • Capital will be more closely managed using Asset Management Plans (Software was approved for this on October 24)
  • Each department will include a business plan –  presumably that means they will include details of personnel count, expenses by category, user fees, grants and subsidies.  It’s not clear what a “business plan” means in a Government context or how this is different to previous years.
  • The intent is to “align the Town’s budget process, Town’s Business Plans, Asset Management Plans and Council’s Strategic Plan”.

Schedule for upcoming Budget meetings

Meeting About Date Time Location Open / Closed
Special Council Budget Session Special Budget Session: Budget will be reviewed in its entirety by Council. Jan. 24, 2017 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. Council Chambers Open
Final Draft Budget Approved by Council The Draft 2017 Municipal Operating & Capital Budget is submitted for final approval by Council. Jan.30, 2017 7 p.m. Council Chambers Open

(The Press Release also listed earlier meetings, internal closed meetings on Dec.12 - 16th and Dec.19 - 22nd plus the mid-term Council Strategic Plan Review on Feb. 8th)

Deputy Mayor John Henderson said. “I truly believe this Council is committed to the Budget process and finding efficiencies as well as striving to work collaboratively towards more effective communications with our community.”

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